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Is 84.3 Gear-Inches Enough?

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Is 84.3 Gear-Inches Enough?

Old 10-16-18, 03:30 PM
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Is 84.3 Gear-Inches Enough?

I've been a busy bee lately - well, all summer long. Consequently, there's been no touring, and not a lot of riding. The Troll frame that I purchased back in June has been gathering dust, and only recently have I found a few brief windows of time to build the wheels and get the build going.

I have a 36/24 crankset, and an 11/40 cassette. Using Sheldon's calculator, that gives me an 84.3 high and a 15.5 low. My question is this: Is 84.3 high enough? Obviously I could pull stumps with the 15.5, but since these are 26" wheels, do any of you think I need more?
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Old 10-16-18, 03:54 PM
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My Nomad is a 26 inch wheel bike. It has a Rohloff which has a range of 526 percent from low to high gear. It is easy to change entire gear ranges by swapping chainrings. I use two different chainrings on it.

For around home with the bike unladen, I put the bigger ring on it (44T), that gives me a range of 19.8 to 104.0 gear inches. This is great for pedaling on shallow downhills at a low effort and lower cadence, and the low gear is low enough to climb the hills near my home with nothing heavier than a pannier of groceries. Thus, this is a pretty good range for riding around home without a load.

But when I load it up with a big pile of camping gear, food for several days, etc., I use the 36T chainring which gives me a range of 16.2 to 85.1 gear inches. That is what I need for serious hill climbing with a heavy load. The lowest gear gives me a cadence of 72 at 3.5 mph which is the lowest speed that I can easily maintain vertical and directional stability. There have been some shallow downhills where I spun out and wished I had a higher gear. But, I would never want to give up the lowest gear for touring with a load. Thus, I am keeping this gearing for touring.

Bottom line, for me, your gearing would be great for touring but I would want something different for around town riding unladen.

In the photo I am using the 36T chainring, but have the 44T on the crankset in the outer position to serve the purpose of a bashguard.

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Old 10-16-18, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
But when I load it up with a big pile of camping gear, food for several days, etc., I use the 36T chainring which gives me a range of 16.2 to 85.1 gear inches. That is what I need for serious hill climbing with a heavy load. The lowest gear gives me a cadence of 72 at 3.5 mph which is the lowest speed that I can easily.
Hmm. Sounds like I'll be okay. I can always change it up if I feel like I need more. Thanks!
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Old 10-16-18, 04:42 PM
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Like MSN says, that sounds like a good range for touring in hilly country, hauling heavy loads. I guess it depends on what your goals are.

PS. How did your tour divide venture go?
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Old 10-16-18, 06:05 PM
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Didnt you sell the ecr? what gear range did it have, I can t recall. Given that you rode that bike with your stuff on it, it would be a good reference for the load weight and what sort of hills you expect to be on.

given that you (I assume) are still going to use this bike for the divide ride, the lower top gear really wont come into play very much, but as Im sure youve figured out, having a bunch of nice low gears is just plain handy as heck.
You also know by now that I dont get teh whole double and single vs a triple thing, but the range of gear inches you mention will be a great range for what you want to do with the bike.

to recap my troll setup, it goes from 16.7 to 104, and I used all gears regularly in my travels with the troll, three trips now, and find it to be a great range for the 40, 50, maybe 60 lbs of stuff that Ive had on it.

that high is close to my second top gear (44-13) which is 87g.i and then 103 for my top gear (44-11) this with the 2in tires.
If I had to, I'd easily lose the 103, but I dont have to and its nice to have it to spin up to about 50 or 55kph, 30mph and a bit, but Im a natural spinner and get up to a cadence of at least 120 and feel fine---but we always come back to how nice it is to have a nice low gear.

get back to us with what the ecr had, and how you felt its range was given the amount of load you plan to carry and doing trail riding with steep hills.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by willibrord View Post
PS. How did your tour divide venture go?
Got screwed out of it. Wife. Good thing I had insurance on the ticket to Calgary.

Instead, we rode around Lake Champlain for a week, credit card touring. It was good, but not part of my plans. Funny how that happens, huh?
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Old 10-16-18, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Didnt you sell the ecr? what gear range did it have, I can t recall. Given that you rode that bike with your stuff on it, it would be a good reference for the load weight and what sort of hills you expect to be on.

given that you (I assume) are still going to use this bike for the divide ride, the lower top gear really wont come into play very much, but as Im sure youve figured out, having a bunch of nice low gears is just plain handy as heck.
You also know by now that I dont get teh whole double and single vs a triple thing, but the range of gear inches you mention will be a great range for what you want to do with the bike.

to recap my troll setup, it goes from 16.7 to 104, and I used all gears regularly in my travels with the troll, three trips now, and find it to be a great range for the 40, 50, maybe 60 lbs of stuff that Ive had on it.

that high is close to my second top gear (44-13) which is 87g.i and then 103 for my top gear (44-11) this with the 2in tires.
If I had to, I'd easily lose the 103, but I dont have to and its nice to have it to spin up to about 50 or 55kph, 30mph and a bit, but Im a natural spinner and get up to a cadence of at least 120 and feel fine---but we always come back to how nice it is to have a nice low gear.

get back to us with what the ecr had, and how you felt its range was given the amount of load you plan to carry and doing trail riding with steep hills.
Still have and much-love the ECR. Its a tank. 28 front, and 11-46 cassette. I originally had a 32 front, and I may go back to it. Limited by the 29+ wheel size for decent lows. I may return to the 32T front or even a slightly higher number of teeth, but its a decent medium-effort setup for me at the least. I'm a "sweat-my-buns-off" up the hill sort of guy, and coast and drink/eat on the downhill anyway. If I do an average of 15 mph for the day, I'm happy.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:48 PM
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what gear inch range does it have?
did you ride it with the luggage weight that you think you'll be riding with on a long trip? and on hills on trails and whatnot?
What are your thoughts then from the ECR riding experience vis a vis gear inches you'd be comfortable with?

and hey, 15mph average is 24kph--which is really dam fast. I dont think Ive ever had an average that high on a bike tour, heck, not even on commutes and such because stops and gos, and times when we ride slow, always has brought my avg speed to 15, 16kph ish, maybe a bit more at times, and often times slower than that. On the Latin American trips, the aaverage speeds were often in the 12, 13, 14, 15kph range. Heck, even with my wife in France this summer, the average speeds were in the 15, 16kph range--so Ive always used this range of 16kph or 10mph as a good guesstimate of avg speed for planning days---BUT get into mountains and its going to be lower.

ps, I cant remember if you mentioned how you set up the troll--what bars? 10 speed, 11?
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Old 10-16-18, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
what gear inch range does it have?
did you ride it with the luggage weight that you think you'll be riding with on a long trip? and on hills on trails and whatnot?
What are your thoughts then from the ECR riding experience vis a vis gear inches you'd be comfortable with?

and hey, 15mph average is 24kph--which is really dam fast. I dont think Ive ever had an average that high on a bike tour, heck, not even on commutes and such because stops and gos, and times when we ride slow, always has brought my avg speed to 15, 16kph ish, maybe a bit more at times, and often times slower than that. On the Latin American trips, the aaverage speeds were often in the 12, 13, 14, 15kph range. Heck, even with my wife in France this summer, the average speeds were in the 15, 16kph range--so Ive always used this range of 16kph or 10mph as a good guesstimate of avg speed for planning days---BUT get into mountains and its going to be lower.

ps, I cant remember if you mentioned how you set up the troll--what bars? 10 speed, 11?
I'll post this Troll build as soon as I can. Like I said, insanely busy with work and commitments... and I'm retired! Great googly moogly - if I thought retirement would be like this, I would have stayed working.
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Old 10-16-18, 07:20 PM
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righto
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Old 10-16-18, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Got screwed out of it. Wife. Good thing I had insurance on the ticket to Calgary.

Instead, we rode around Lake Champlain for a week, credit card touring. It was good, but not part of my plans. Funny how that happens, huh?
Oh well. Life happens. The divide is still there.
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Old 10-16-18, 11:05 PM
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83 GI high = LOL for me.
I did 3,900 miles in 13 weeks this summer. Going thru BC Banff to Vancouver, then Seattle, Astoria, Portland, Spokane, to Cranbrook, Calgary, home.
120 lb bike with Rohloff at 46/ 16T. 21.5 to 115.5 GI or so. Most of the time when I couldn't go 4 mph I got off and pushed. Likely about 30 miles total.
It IS easier than wizzing my brains out, especially when sweating in heat or cold. Golden to Revelstoke was the longest day, 98 miles with 3 walking. A few days on the freeways with a tail wind I did make fine use of the 115 GI. Like the second last day going north to south end Red Deer to what is called gasoline alley. Halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. I got there at noon to the A+W for lunch. While I was getting ready to go inside, THREE drivers came over and said WOW you were flying. Yup, 25 to 27 mph for 20 miles on the mostly flat road. Same on the 84 going up the Columbia. I passed the river grain barges 2 or 3 times. ha It was hotter than a bugger 4 straight weeks. Had to hole up a bunch of days. I also make plenty use of high gears to keep up momentum at the bottom of a hill or in dips going back up. Then I will downshift 4 gears at a time. Derailleurs are pathetic for that.

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Old 10-17-18, 01:17 AM
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My partners Troll runs a 20-30-40 front and 11-40 rear, gives her something like 727%. Lowest gear is 13.2 inches, highest is 96, which seems to do the trick, she has no problems balancing with the 13.2.. The 20T front is by aMTBer. Needs a bit of file work on the spider and the chainring bolts to fit though.
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Old 10-17-18, 02:33 AM
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There is a serious downside to not having a low enough gear. For me, I'd rather have a usable range and coast on the downhills where I don't have a high enough gear.
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Old 10-17-18, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
83 GI high = LOL for me.
I did 3,900 miles in 13 weeks this summer. Going thru BC Banff to Vancouver, then Seattle, Astoria, Portland, Spokane, to Cranbrook, Calgary, home.
120 lb bike with Rohloff at 46/ 16T. 21.5 to 115.5 GI or so. Most of the time when I couldn't go 4 mph I got off and pushed. Likely about 30 miles total.
It IS easier than wizzing my brains out, especially when sweating in heat or cold. Golden to Revelstoke was the longest day, 98 miles with 3 walking. A few days on the freeways with a tail wind I did make fine use of the 115 GI. Like the second last day going north to south end Red Deer to what is called gasoline alley. Halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. I got there at noon to the A+W for lunch. While I was getting ready to go inside, THREE drivers came over and said WOW you were flying. Yup, 25 to 27 mph for 20 miles on the mostly flat road. Same on the 84 going up the Columbia. I passed the river grain barges 2 or 3 times. ha It was hotter than a bugger 4 straight weeks. Had to hole up a bunch of days. I also make plenty use of high gears to keep up momentum at the bottom of a hill or in dips going back up. Then I will downshift 4 gears at a time. Derailleurs are pathetic for that.
Were you fully-loaded with gear?
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Old 10-17-18, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
My partners Troll runs a 20-30-40 front and 11-40 rear, gives her something like 727%. Lowest gear is 13.2 inches, highest is 96, which seems to do the trick, she has no problems balancing with the 13.2.. The 20T front is by aMTBer. Needs a bit of file work on the spider and the chainring bolts to fit though.
What crank is she running, Trev?
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Old 10-17-18, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
What crank is she running, Trev?
Was one of these https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy/...ctalink-658383
With one of these: https://www.amazon.com/aMTBer-20T-Ch.../dp/B00CDW9CC0 you definitely need to file the spider and the chain ring bolts to clear the side plates of the chain. It'll seem ok unloaded, but as soon as you load the crank it'll make weird noises and/or skip as the chain rides up on the bolts and spider.
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Old 10-17-18, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Was one of these https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy/...ctalink-658383
With one of these: https://www.amazon.com/aMTBer-20T-Ch.../dp/B00CDW9CC0 you definitely need to file the spider and the chain ring bolts to clear the side plates of the chain. It'll seem ok unloaded, but as soon as you load the crank it'll make weird noises and/or skip as the chain rides up on the bolts and spider.
Okay cool. Thanks for this. I'll check into this if the current setup comes up wanting.
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Old 10-17-18, 06:03 AM
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My cargo bike, which i don't ride whole days in a row like touring, my cruising gear is 63.6 inches. For a touring bike meant to be ridden whole days, 84.3 would be plenty.
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Old 10-17-18, 06:11 AM
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Yes, for touring

For touring, you really don't typically need a higher gear unless you are a really strong rider who uses really lightweight gear. Go back to Sheldon's calculator and see what speed you are doing when you are spun out (pedaling as fast as you COMFORTABLY can). This is your max speed on flats and slight downhills. It is most likely around 22mph which for me is plenty fast for touring. If you are going down a steep hill, just coast.

I use a high of 82 and low of 15 and very very rarely wish for a higher gear while touring.
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Old 10-17-18, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post
Go back to Sheldon's calculator and see what speed you are doing when you are spun out (pedaling as fast as you COMFORTABLY can). This is your max speed on flats and slight downhills. It is most likely around 22mph which for me is plenty fast for touring. If you are going down a steep hill, just coast.
Yeah it looks like about 22mph @ 90 rpm, which for me is pretty good.
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Old 10-17-18, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post
For touring, you really don't typically need a higher gear unless you are a really strong rider who uses really lightweight gear. Go back to Sheldon's calculator and see what speed you are doing when you are spun out (pedaling as fast as you COMFORTABLY can). This is your max speed on flats and slight downhills. It is most likely around 22mph which for me is plenty fast for touring. If you are going down a steep hill, just coast.
Yeah. My first tour (x-country) I had MTB gearing. I spun out once, and that was only because my RD was junked up and I couldn't get into my smallest cog. It happened on the High Line (U.S. 2) in central Montana. Straight, flat with an unbelievable tailwind. I sustained 32.5 mph for several miles. Finally spent to much time in the red and had to dial it back to 28 mph. Even then my cadence was not what I would call comfortable, but I kept it up since a couple of us were chasing down our tour leader. He got to the campground not even 1 minute before the first chaser, but he had had at least a 4 minute head start.
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Old 10-17-18, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Were you fully-loaded with gear?
this is a good example of taking internet stuff with a grain of salt. This fellow rides with a 80lb load, lets say a 40lb bike, and for him having 21.5 gear inches is fine, and also says that derailleurs are pathetic if you need to shift 4 gears--all of this certainly not my experience.
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Old 10-17-18, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
... . If I do an average of 15 mph for the day, I'm happy.
I do not think I have ever had an average that high. Some days when I ride for exercise (no load on the bike, working hard with a high heart rate) I might be at 16 or 17 mph on a touring bike on the flats with minimal wind. But when you add the slower sections of the route with traffic, stop and go intersections, etc., I am lucky to have an average over 13 mph.


Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
.... Like I said, insanely busy with work and commitments... and I'm retired! Great googly moogly - if I thought retirement would be like this, I would have stayed working.
Yeah, I retired 8 years ago, just do not have enough time. But I have absolutely no desire to go back to work. I did not have enough time back when I was working either.
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Old 10-17-18, 07:56 AM
  #25  
cyccommute 
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I've been a busy bee lately - well, all summer long. Consequently, there's been no touring, and not a lot of riding. The Troll frame that I purchased back in June has been gathering dust, and only recently have I found a few brief windows of time to build the wheels and get the build going.

I have a 36/24 crankset, and an 11/40 cassette. Using Sheldon's calculator, that gives me an 84.3 high and a 15.5 low. My question is this: Is 84.3 high enough? Obviously I could pull stumps with the 15.5, but since these are 26" wheels, do any of you think I need more?
Only you can tell if your gearing is high enough. Personally, I find a high gear that low to be frustrating. Your high is similar to old mountain bike gearing with a 44 tooth chainwheel and a 13 tooth cog. I always found that I was running out of gears and having to speed too much time coasting.

I currently have a gearing that has a range of 711%...take that ya IGH yahoos! Here's a comparison of your gearing to my road gearing. You can see that your gears run out just over 20 mph at 90 rpm. Mine run out at a bit over 30 mph. Having a higher high gear has some benefits. On short downhills, I can get more speed up which carries me further up the inevitable uphill.

Here's a comparison to my off-road touring gearing. I still find the higher (but lower then the road bike) gearing to be useful. Riding on trails is different from off-road touring. While you might never run across pavement on single track, off-road touring can involve a fair amount of pavement. Having the higher gear comes in handy for the same reasons as it does for road touring.

On long downhills, I can pedal and keep my legs moving without feeling like I'm going to bounce off my saddle for longer. Colorado can have some epic downhills that last for 7 or 8 miles or more. Being able to spin your legs helps keep them a least a little fresh. Coasting for long periods can leave your legs feeling leaden when you have to start climbing again.
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Last edited by cyccommute; 10-17-18 at 08:06 AM. Reason: additional information
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